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Dallas set to honor leaders

Annual awards ceremony for community on tap Friday night

Chelsea Pope, executive director of the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce, addresses the audience during the 2013 Dallas Community Awards Ceremony.

Pete Strong/Itemizer-Observer file

Chelsea Pope, executive director of the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce, addresses the audience during the 2013 Dallas Community Awards Ceremony.

February 18, 2014

DALLAS — Nothing says party like Mardi Gras, and the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its event year with a bang at the 57th annual Community Awards Ceremony, “Mardi Gras Masquerade,” on Friday.

The ceremony — which recognizes individuals and businesses making a difference in the Dallas community — is just the first of several local Mardi Gras-themed occasions planned in 2014.

“The last few years we have been trying to pick themes that we can use for the whole year, and Mardi Gras was the top vote-getter for Summerfest,” said Chelsea Pope, chamber executive director. “It has been a lot of fun to plan.”

Pope invites ceremony attendees to have fun with the theme and dress the part.

“We will have masks at the door for people who really want to get into it,” she added.

Even the caterer, Capricorn Catering, has gotten in on the act and will serve jambalaya as the main course for the dinner.

This year, the chamber is changing the format of the awards, revealing the winners ahead of time.

In the past, the winners have been a secret until the ceremony. The tactic required event presenters and friends and family members of the recipients to tell a few white lies to make sure winners were in the audience. Pope said that was fun, but increasingly difficult to pull off every year.

“Chambers have been shifting to letting the winners know ahead of time,” she said. “We are probably one of the last to go that way.”

Pope added the creativity needed to deceive the award winners in the past has been used to find a way to make an occasion of revealing the winners before the ceremony.

“It’s been really, really fun to tell the winners ahead of time,” Pope said, noting that most have been really surprised and humbled by their honor. “It’s why you know you have selected the right person. They are humble.”

And the

winners are …

Awards to be presented during Friday night’s 57th annual Dallas Community Awards Ceremony at the Col. James Nesmith Readiness Center include:

• First Citizen — PJ Johnson.

• Junior First Citizen —Jake Frazier.

• Good Samaritan — Beth Jones.

• Outstanding Organization — Garten Services.

• Small Business of the Year —Crunchy Mamas.

• Most Improved Business of the Year — Dallas Health & Vitality Center.

• Ag Business of the Year — Eola Hills Wine Cellars.

• Business of the Year — Hayward Ford.

If You Go ...

What: 57th annual Dallas Community Awards Ceremony.

When: Friday. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Where: Col. James Nesmith Readiness Center, 12835 Westview Drive, Dallas.

Admission: $40 per person. Tickets are available at the chamber office, 119 SW Court St., or Dallas School District Office, 111 SW Ash St., Dallas.

For more information: 503-623-2564; or send an email to

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